Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:20 am Post subject: Identifying the Bad Guy: Antagonists in Literature
Antagonists are types of characters who oppose the protagonist in some way; however, not all of them are created equal, nor do they all fall under the category of "villain." Here are some possible character attributes that are frequently connected to true antagonistic behavior from write my paper service.
The classic villain
Stereotypical villains have no redeeming qualities, and this allows you to hate them with ease. At every step of the story, this antagonist is thwarting, fighting, frustrating, or attempting to destroy the protagonist. You are probably familiar with many of the classic Disney movies that project this villainous persona as in the evil stepmother in "Cinderella" or Scar in "The Lion King." Literature has its share as well: Lord Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" series, Bob Ewell in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and Grendel from "Beowulf."
Not necessarily evil
The difference between villains and antagonists seems to be a matter of change. Antagonists are developed in the same or almost the same depth as the protagonists, so you will likely see this character evolve throughout the work. This change does not necessarily mean the character becomes a "good guy" by the end, although this is one possibility. Others include becoming significantly more evil or coming to an understanding.Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth in the play "Macbeth" are both antagonists. Obeying his wife's command, Macbeth murders the king to take the throne. He is initially overwrought with guilt, but slowly becomes a heartless scoundrel and kills more people to maintain his position. Lady Macbeth, in a role reversal, begins greedy and cruel but succumbs to her own guilt by committing suicide.
Snape from "Harry Potter" initially presents himself as the antagonist for the first six books. Harry leads you to believe that Snape is still aligned with Voldemort; Snape's bullying, sarcasm, and relentless hatred for Harry seems to confirm this for you. However, in the end we learn that Snape was in fact working with Dumbledore and protecting Harry from the start, despite his behavior, and did so out of love and loyalty to Harry's deceased mother, with whom he was in love.
Well-developed antagonists should have credibility. In other words, the driving force behind these characters' behaviors should be authentic and believable. You will understand—but not necessarily condone—why these antagonists are adamant about their opposition to the protagonist.Madame Defarge is a ruthless revolutionary in France from the novel "A Tale of Two Cities." Her deep hatred for the aristocracy leads to her determined efforts to exterminate all royalty, members of their blood lines, and anyone opposed to the revolution. Only at the end of the novel do you learn that her sister was raped, her brother-in-law was tortured and died, her father died of a heart attack, and her brother was stabbed, all indirectly or directly by the Evremonde brothers, a pair of aristocrats. You might not condone her murderous actions, especially at this point in the novel, but you will understand the motives behind her rampage.